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Cloud company prioritises social commerce

Tuesday May 10 2011

NetSuite announces e-commerce focus, adds in-app social networking capabilities

NetSuite announces e-commerce focus, adds in-app social networking capabilities


US software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, NetSuite has today made a number of announcements designed to promote e-commerce and social networking using its systems.


At the company's first ever major annual SuiteWorld conference, NetSuite is predicting that cloud will be a major disruptive force for those companies reliant on enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and looking to grow their business beyond geographical boundaries using e-commerce.


Zach Nelson, NetSuite chief executive, declared that the next big change in the way companies use software systems to run their businesses would be known as "E(RP)-commerce".


"Most companies that use ERP systems and want to transact over the web have had to build an entirely different engine to do this," he said. "Today you can use NetSuite to build e-commerce engines, exposing all its transactional capabilities to your customers through a web front end."


Integration out of the box


He said NetSuite was looking to emulate the success of companies like Apple who built and engineered its products to work together.


"E-commerce is changing radically as well," he added. "You want to sell on Facebook or on mobiles. Well, we can run f-commerce and m-commerce straight off of NetSuite. The best systems are integrated from the start."


The second major announcement was the provider's integration with the enterprise social networking software firm, Yammer.


"We're experts in transactions; Yammer are the experts in engagement," continued Nelson.


David Sacks, Yammer chief executive, and Nelson carried out a joint product demonstration to show how activities of record in NetSuite finance users generating invoices, product shipment fulfilment, and sales reps placing orders can be "socialised" and transmitted as an "activity stream" to Yammer's enterprise social networking platform.


The integration also marks the debut of Yammer Activity Streams, which are intended to aggregate activity stories across a wide variety of enterprise applications. By importing content from NetSuite, Yammer Activity Streams are designed to provide users with an instant snapshot of NetSuite activity inside Yammer, where they can share and discuss with colleagues.


Sacks said the integration would be available in the third quarter, and added: "We're going to create a layer of intelligence so that you can aggregate activity according to roles and communities, as well as publishing an API [application programming interface]."


Aiming at larger enterprises


Among other independent software vendor (ISV) announcements included the ability to integrate Google Apps, Ariba supply chain and Pitney Bowes shipping functionality with its platform.


As part of the provider's aim to scale up into larger enterprise, NetSuite also announced a partnership with systems integrator (SI) Accenture and their first joint customer, the mobile technology firm Qualcomm.


The addition of Oracle's Exadata database appliance into its data centres will also be seen as a move designed to scale out its offering to companies operating on a global scale.


Mark Hurd, Oracle president, was on hand to endorse the company it has a major financial stake in: "NetSuite's ability to tune, optimise and support cloud-based systems is second to none."


Nelson also outlined a number of new offerings under the "Unlimited" banner that includes access to all 26 of its modules and removes user number limits.


"We support the power of the big boys with the agility of smaller companies," he concluded.